The Goblin Hero | 9

Chapter 9.  I am told a story.

In an Ancient Age, in the days before Goblins, there were Gods:  Humans and Elves living among and above lesser creatures of water and sky, mountain and forest.

It is well known within this Ancient and most favored society that Farquill was most accomplished of Human craftsmen and that he wished to bed Meganna the Enchantress, most beautiful of Elf maidens.

Yet Meganna was fickle, and Farquill was denied.

“Is there no gift you desire, fair Meganna?” asked Farquill.  “No craft of stone nor design of metal that might please and pleasure you?”

“I have no such desire,” said Meganna, who indeed was as practiced as Farquill in her own art of braided cloth and threaded bead and leafy wreath and sculptured gown.

“Yet does not every maiden’s heart turn toward family and child?” asked Farquill.

“I would have child,” agreed Meganna.

“Then such a desire must be forged in fire,” said Farquill.

Meganna laughed and whirled away.  “No man shall ever have me!  And certainly not you, lame Craftsman!  Certainly not you!”

And, indeed, Farquill stood crippled, lame, and slow, his legs shriveled and weakened by the heat of his labors.  Yet, unlike Meganna’s other suitors, Farquill was most able of Human craftsmen, as practiced and skilled in politic and intrigue as hand and eye.

From volcano and glacier, lightning and blood, Farquill constructed a gift for Meganna: A child.  And not just one child – but many.

As with all of Farquill’s arts, these false children were pleasant only insofar as they were purposeful.  And their purpose was to pretend.

Their childish eyes were fashioned from river-light captured at dawn in small floating ovals of turquoise laced with amber; their legs, in Farquill’s own image, were less useful than the pointed wings he granted them of crystal and translucent jade spun and filled with the buoyant mists of wind-swept waves.  Their wit he leafed in slick surfaces of silver and mercury; their anger he tempered with the blackest of the soot of Great Forests burned.

And, when Farquill was done and the fire of his forge was extinguished, there were many such false children, and all were ready and all were willing to serve Meganna – all but the last, left unfinished, without wings or wonder, which Farquill placed back among dying embers.

“What is my purpose?” asked the first and greatest of Farquill’s false children, first to see and understand its creator.

“Your life is to please fair Meganna,” said Farquill.

“So it is.  So it will be,” said the King of Faeries.  And Farquill’s Faeries flew from his forge, into the sun, across the moon, and burned like the brightest of sparks in the thickest of smokes.

And Farquill heard nothing more.

No Meganna came to his forge.

No Faerie returned to its Master.

Slowly, on crutches of wheel and chain, pulley and spoke, Farquill moved from his forge to the grasses and meadows and woodlands where Meganna danced and whirled with her Faerie band.

“Are you pleased with the gift I give you?” asked Farquill.

“Most pleased,” said Meganna, smiling.

“Is this not a gift worthy of a husband?”

“A husband?” laughed the fair Meganna.  “Look, kind Farquill, how my Faeries provide me with child!”

And, indeed, in cradles of limb and bough were small children laughing and crying, captured and stolen by Faeries acting according to Meganna’s desire.

“Are not father and mother also husband and wife?” said Farquill.  “Are not debts owed also paid?”

Meganna laughed and whirled away.  “No man shall ever have me!  And certainly not you, lame Craftsman!  Certainly not you!”

Unlike Meganna’s many other suitors, Farquill was unable to dance and twirl with the fair maiden as she played among her Faerie imaginations and fondled and coddled the small children stolen and claimed as her own from all creatures lesser than she.

Slowly, on crutches of wheel and chain, pulley and spoke, Farquill returned to his forge and pulled the last of his Faeries, broken and wingless, from the cold ashes of its incomplete design.

He held this false Faerie close and breathed upon it.  “Your purpose is to destroy,” he whispered to the creature.  “You are enemy of all that is False.”

“And am I then hero of all that is True?”

Farquill spit in the small creature’s face and rubbed his thumb in the spittle so that the creature’s face was misshapen and unrecognizable as his own.

“There is no hero,” said Farquill.  “Now go, and live your life.”

“So it is,” said the creature, now Goblin.  “So it will be.”

***

The sword’s story ended and I awoke.  The Chieftainess’ breasts were against my chest where she lay and slept.  Across from us was an exotic hawk with sharp beak and cocked head.

“Do you believe such stories?” asked the hawk.

“Do you hear them as well?” I said.

“I do not believe them,” said the hawk.

“I am an excellent storyteller,” said the sword.

“Goblins seldom believe such stories,” said the hawk.  “Do you?”

“Allow me to introduce Lady Gwaine,” said the sword.

“I am, at the moment, Lady Gwaine’s will and desire,” admitted the hawk.  “Would you like me to possess that female creature at your side so that we might conduct a more intimate conversation?”

“I do not believe any like to be possessed.”

“You are decidedly misled in this belief.  However, it is certainly true that this hawk resists my presence.  It aches to circle and soar.  Is this not true of all?”

“It is true that pain must be endured with or without a Master, if that is what you mean.”

“It is not.  I have a ring – a very powerful ring – that tells me that you a mighty Goblin warrior.  Is this true?”

“Goblins do not believe truth is found in stories of swords or magic of rings.”

“Are you a Goblin, Chief Twixt?”

“If not, then what else?”

“Perhaps you are dead and dreaming.”

The hawk turned its head towards the sky, ruffled its feathers, and scratched its belly with a spiked talon.  It wriggled and shook its wing as though to be rid of it.

“Begone, wretched hawk!” said a voice, and the hawk flew into dawn.

The eyes of the Chieftainess opened into mine.

“Let us test how well we favor each other,” said the Chieftainess.

The hands of the Chieftainess slid beneath my tunic.  Hearing no warning from the sword, I found no reason – nor desire – to resist these explorations.